RON Anning did not know what to expect when he opened his mail to find an invite to lunch with the Queen.
The invitation, from Her Majesty and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, invites Ron and his wife Mary to a reception honouring emergency workers, volunteers and those affected by the natural disasters last summer.
"It (the invite) just turned up in the mail, I'm not sure what day it arrived but I came home on Friday and there it was," he said.
The invite came in an Express Bag with a distinctive government seal.
"I opened it and then waited for Mary to get home," he said.
"We were surprised… but not speechless… I did have a moment of thinking why on earth would I get an invitation?
"I don't really need any more (recognition) regarding the floods but I will try to ensure I get there.
"This is a once in a life time opportunity."
Ron said it was a timeframe of about two weeks from when he got the invite to the event on Monday, October 24, and has been busy finalising all the details.
"My outfit is sorted, airfares booked and accommodation done," he said with a sigh of relief.
But it was not all smooth sailing with airfares putting a spanner in the works.
"The availability of flights at an affordable cost was a reality," he said.
"My concern is that other people might not be able to go due to cost of airfares."
Though the flights were expensive, Ron said he was able to use his frequent flyer points which enabled them to go.
But because of the short notice, Ron was concerned that other people who may have been invited might have trouble finding flights if they had not booked as soon as possible.
The next issue for Ron to consider was the dress code which stated lounge suit and day dress as appropriate.
"I did need to go on the net to research a lounge suit," he admitted with a laugh.
"Thankfully I have no need to go shopping for it but I think Mary would like to go shopping."
The couple booked a room at a nearby hotel and will walk to Parliament House where each guest will be security checked before the lunch.
"We are going on Monday morning and come back on Tuesday… and have to bring the invite and photo ID," Ron said.
"Coaches will depart (from Parliament House) under police escort to the reception venue but I have no idea where it is.
"The Queen and Duke will circulate through the guests but we don't eat with them."
Ron said there was no guarantee they would get to meet the Queen as there would be many others there but he still hoped for a chance to shake her hand.
"We can't miss this opportunity and would like to thank who ever thought to put our name in," he said.
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